Catcher in the Rye: Red binded copies.

Seeing this thread reminded me of the old red copy of the book I have on my shelf.

From what I’ve heard (forgive me for my waste of bandwith if I’m wrong) Oswald carried a copy as did several other big name (supposed) killers.

Any reason behind this? When did they stop printing the book with a red cover? Is the whole “killer” idea related to their stopping the printing of the red copies?

How common are red binded copies?

The red copies were sold long after Oswald. They were common throughout the 60s and 70s. I have a copy of the 33rd printing in 1972, and that had a red cover.

By the 80s, Salinger’s works were reprinted in a uniform edition with white covers. The reason for the change seemed to be that Salinger asked for a white cover as a reaction to the original paperback “hooker” cover, which he hated.

No idea about various bindings/printings, but wasn’t it Mark David Chapman (who shot John Lennon) who carried it with him all the time? Maybe Oswald did too, but I’ve never heard about it.

Don’t read the book while eating gravy.

That’s all I’m gonna say.

I tried to find something on the bindings, but all I found was this;

Salinger won’t allow any of his books (all four of them) to be published with cover art, but typically, he isn’t very forthcoming about why. Interestingly enough, I was in a bookstore today, and noticed that the trade paperbacks have a red spine with a plain white cover, sort of a combination of the red covers and white covers.

While Salinger certainly showed a preference for a white cover, it’s highly unlikely he has any actual say in the cover design.

The first paperback edition has a picture of Holden talking to a woman who was clearly a prostitute – she was wearing revealing clothing and leaning against a lamppost. Salinger was furious and told his publisher to give it a white cover. However, the publisher was under no obligation to do so (authors very rarely get any contractual say in the design of the book covers, and since the book has remained in print, the original contract is still in force*). However, in response to both Salinger’s complaint and the realization that the book wasn’t just going to be a throwaway paperback, Bantam switched to the plain red cover.

Eventually, the book was given a plain white cover. This coincided with the release of Salinger’s other books in uniform editions, and was probably influenced by his antipathy to the original paperback cover. It’s highly unlikely it was because of the assassins (and the fact that is was in their possession is the Frederick Wertham fallacy – millions of others had the book in their possession at the time, and never killed anyone).

It’s not true Salinger won’t allow any books to be published with cover art; current hardcovers and trade paperbacks of Catcher reproduce the original cover art of a red horse.

*Publishing contracts are typically written to be in force for a set period (usually seven years). If, at the end of that period, the book is not in print, the author can ask the publisher to revert the rights. Since Catcher never went out of print, the original contract should still apply.

My paperback copy has a somewhat deformed carousel horse on it. I’ve never seen the hooker or red cover, unless the horse cover is the same one. What’s the deal with mine? When did they start printing these ones?

Nevermind–I wasn’t reading the other posts closely enough. Sorry.

I overstated my case. I should have said that the current editions of the four books have no cover art due to Salinger’s preference that there be none.